Mozambique has planted the first field trial of genetically modified (GM) maize in the Chokwe District of Gaza Province in the southern part of the country on February 18, 2017. The GM maize plants were planted in the Confined Field Trial (CFT) run by the Mozambican Agricultural Research Institute (Instituto de Investigação Agrária de Moçambique, IIAM) as part of the Water Efficient Maize for Africa (WEMA) program. The trial will test the tolerance of GM maize to drought and insect pests.
WEMA Country Coordinator in Mozambique, Dr. Pedro Fato, said, “This will be added value for our farmers who are greatly in need of new technologies for production and productivity, to keep up with the new dynamics imposed by climate change. These technologies should cope with drought and insect pests which have had such a negative impact on crops in Africa, particularly in Mozambique.”
Dr. Sylvester Oikeh, WEMA Project Manager says that under moderate drought conditions, WEMA’s drought tolerant and insect-pest protected maize can increase yields by 20 to 35 percent, compared with varieties developed in 2008 when the project started.
WEMA is a public private partnership launched by the African Agricultural Technology Foundation (AATF) in 2008 with financial support from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Howard G. Buffett Foundation. Its aim is to develop and deploy drought tolerant and insect-pest protected (climate-smart) technologies to farmers in five African countries, namely: Kenya, Mozambique, South Africa, Tanzania and Uganda.